Books are a big thing in my house. I have a serious book addiction and have passed it on to both of my children. My older child taught herself to read at a young age and has a truly voracious appetite for books. My little one is very opinionated about her books and has hit the age where she is starting to recite them to me, which always makes me smile.
In May, I gave in to the dark side and got a Kindle. Even though there is something special about the printed word and the feeling of actually turning pages, I couldn’t resist the ease of getting a book whenever you wanted and opening up the world of digital libraries. We are pretty fortunate here in the Sandhills. Both the Given Memorial Library in Pinehurst and the Southern Pines Library now offer patrons the ability to check out digital editions through Overdrive, an app that works on many platforms, or directly through their Kindles. The selections are growing and the whole system is so simple.
Even though I’m a convert to digital books for me, I’m not as comfortable with allowing my children to use my Kindle to read their books. Part of that is probably due to the fact that there isn’t a huge selection for books young enough for my girls. Part has to do with the fact that given our love of books and the large number of books we buy, I try to find the best deals -most children’s books are full price in digital editions. Finally, a big part has to do with the fact that the Kindle is “mine.” There are few things I can claim as my own and I don’t want my kids seeing it as a toy. I don’t even have my email or any apps that are not book related on the device.
But I do believe that digital editions are going to be a part of our future. With that in mind, a few months ago I found out about a website called We Give Books. Inspired by Ladybug Girl and her Bug Squad, the site is created so that anyone with access to the Internet can put books in the hands of children who don’t have them, simply by reading them online. This means that kids who can’t buy books the way my family does or perhaps don’t have the best access to libraries can read great books online. The truly wonderful thing is that every time you read a book on their site, they donate a book to children in need.
The website has tons of great books available and claims to be adding more regularly. The books are “children’s picture books appropriate for children through age ten. There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction, a range of authors, and an equal balance between read-alouds and books for independent readers.” When you go online to read a book, you can filter by age group, genre or even a specific author.
Last night, my daughter read me two books that we didn’t have here at home. She was really excited by reading a new story and by getting a little time on my computer. I enjoyed hearing a new story mixed with doing a good deed. The We Give Books site doesn’t work well on a Kindle, but for the many people out there with iPads it should work fabulously. If you haven’t already checked it out, I would highly recommend taking a look.